October 5, 2005 Library of Congress Announces Award of $3 Million to Portico, a Nonprofit Electronic Archiving Service

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217 | Eileen Fenton, Portico (609) 258-8355

Electronic Scholarly Resources to Be Preserved

The Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) announced today that it is making a $3 million grant award for the development of Portico, a nonprofit electronic archiving service being developed by Ithaka. Ithaka is a nonprofit organization with offices in New York City and Princeton, N.J., that provides a range of services to assist in the creation and development of promising new projects that benefit higher education.

This award from the Library of Congress will be used to support Portico’s development of the archives’ technical infrastructure and an economically sustainable business model for a continuing archiving service for scholarly resources published in electronic form, beginning with electronic scholarly journals. The Library award will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Ithaka, which has also received funding for Portico from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and JSTOR, whose broad mission is to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in information technology and whose activities include responsibility for digitizing, preserving and providing access to an extensive archives of research literature.

The award advances two fundamental goals of the Library’s massive digital preservation program, which was mandated by Congress: to develop a technical infrastructure to support long-term preservation of digital content and to foster the development of new business models for digital preservation services.

“The Library of Congress is pleased to support this important infrastructure initiative for libraries and publishers,” said Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives Laura E. Campbell, who is leading NDIIPP for the Library of Congress. “As scholarly materials are increasingly being created in digital form, it becomes ever more critical to foster the development of multiple technological and economic solutions to the challenges of digital preservation. Portico’s efforts are an important step in exploring new strategies for ensuring that content will be preserved for future generations.”

“Preservation of electronic resources will require significant levels of collaboration among many constituents in our community,” said Eileen Fenton, executive director of Portico, “but it is work that is absolutely essential to the long-term health of the academic enterprise. I am pleased that the Library of Congress recognizes the importance of the problem and is looking to Portico to play a key role in contributing to the solution. Portico is singularly focused on developing the technological infrastructure and economic framework necessary to sustain its important archiving service for the very long term. A collaborative relationship with the Library of Congress is a valuable component of that effort, and we look forward to working with the Library in the years ahead.”

For more than a decade, scholarly publishers have been creating electronic journals in response to demands from libraries and scholars for innovative information resources. Even as electronic journals and other electronic resources have become a significant part of the scholarly record upon which future students and researchers must rely, it has remained unclear precisely how these resources will be preserved for the long term. Portico is developing a new community-based approach to solving the problem of preserving these important electronic scholarly resources.


National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program

In December 2000 Congress authorized the Library of Congress to develop and execute a congressionally approved plan for a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. A $99.8 million congressional appropriation was made to establish the program. According to Conference Report (H. Rept. 106-1033), “The overall plan should set forth a strategy for the Library of Congress, in collaboration with other federal and nonfederal entities, to identify a national network of libraries and other organizations with responsibilities for collecting digital materials that will provide access to and maintain those materials. … In addition to developing this strategy, the plan shall set forth, in concert with the Copyright Office, the policies, protocols and strategies for the long-term preservation of such materials, including the technological infrastructure required at the Library of Congress.” The goal is to build a network of committed partners working through a preservation architecture with defined roles and responsibilities.

The complete text of the “Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program” is available at www.digitalpreservation.gov. This includes an explanation of how the plan was developed, who the Library worked with to develop the plan and the key components of the digital preservation infrastructure. The plan was approved by Congress in December 2002.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Through its National Digital Library (NDL) Program, it is also one of the leading providers of noncommercial intellectual content on the Internet (www.loc.gov). The NDL Program’s flagship American Memory project, in collaboration with other institutions nationwide, makes freely available more than 10 million American historical items.

About Portico

Portico's program mission is to preserve scholarly literature published in electronic form and to ensure that these materials remain accessible to future generations of scholars, researchers and students (www.portico.org). Portico was launched by JSTOR (www.jstor.org) and is currently being developed with support from JSTOR and Ithaka, a nonprofit organization that incubates promising new projects benefiting higher education (www.ithaka.org). Additional support for Portico is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (www.mellon.org).


PR 05-217
ISSN 0731-3527